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WGSN HQ: Meet Video Production Associate Emily Ellison

2016 was a busy year for Emily, and so as the year comes to an end we grabbed a few minutes with her, to talk about how she captured everything from non-stop street style at New York Fashion Week and backstage footage at the coolest music festivals, all as part of her role as a video production associate for WGSN. Emily is a huge part of the video production team based in our North America office, constantly creating amazing moving visual content for our global company, it’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it! 🙂

Check out our Q&A with Emily below to find out how she landed such a cool gig:

 

Hey Em, where were you before WGSN?

Oh, I don’t have any exciting answers for this one. After I graduated from college in Cocoa Beach, Florida, I had a couple of months fulfilling freelance opportunities. Then I saw that my current partner in crime on the video team here, Daniel Head, posted a job for WGSN so I applied. We had gone to school together so I saw it on his social media feed.

How many festivals have you been to in 2016?

Earlier in the summer, we got back from FYF in Los Angeles. We also got to attend and shoot from Panorama Music festival and Governor’s Ball in New York where we’re based, so yeah, it was definitely a fun summer!

Did you cover any New York Fashion Week events?

Yes, NYFW was probably the most exciting thing we did this year. We went out for about 4 of the 7 days from morning until the sun set and basically just found the most exciting shows, stood outside of them and got shots of everyone who looked good and “New Yorky”. The whole point of the new video based StyleID series we’ve set up for WGSN, is trying to establish that every city has their own vibe, so we were sent out to find New York City’s vibe. It was really fun and we ended up being able to go to a couple of shows.

What was your favourite show?

My favourite show was the whole group presentation at Milk Studios because they had 4 different designers there. The MISBHV SS17 show at MADE New York in Milk Studios was so great!

FYF_Festival_fyf20816_IMG_9926

Emily and her fellow video production associate, Daniel at FYF Festival

 

Can you give a rundown of your typical day when filming?

I wake up around 7 a.m. so I can be in the office by 9 a.m. (an hour commute from Queens). Then from there I probably have two cups of coffee straight, and while that digests we try to pack our bags and gear for the shoot. We try to keep it down to minimum gear if we can because we go everywhere by foot or on the train. As soon as we arrive to a shoot we’re usually meeting a WGSN content editor or one is going with us so they can present the story to us and we brainstorm how we’re going to visually craft that…then we create a game plan from there. I like to scope out what we’re going to be filming, the space that we have and who is talking to us.

If we’re filming a trade show, we make plans with 4 different brands and schedule a time when the editor can interview them and get all the material we need, like the rough script and we also take a bunch of extra b-roll shots. It’s very creatively free for us in the production team, but we’re always going off of a pretty concrete idea that the editors have given us.

So when you go back to the office, what’s the next step?

Usually when we’re sent out on a shoot it takes up our entire day. If there is time we go back to the office, get all of the footage on the server and upload onto Premiere Project to see what we have. We watch everything and decide what we can and cannot do with the footage. Next we to go to Jaime (our WGSN Head of New Media) and create a script that someone then voices over. We’ll look at everything that we have and say ‘ok, we can tell this story, we can’t really go in this direction that we wanted but we have this and this’. For example, during New York Fashion Week we were going to get a bunch of interviews of stylish people and ask them how long it took them to get ready, who their style inspiration is etc. After we were out shooting we realized everyone was totally here for posing for pictures and videos, but they didn’t want to answer questions. After the first day of filming, looking at our footage we realized ‘ok from here on out we’re going to have to shoot just stylish street shots only.’ You have to have a firm plan but you need to be flexible.

Have you ever had a bad experience filming? Have you ever come back and realised you didn’t have enough content and if so what were your next steps?

I think that always happens to us. We think we filmed so much content that in the moment it can be overwhelming… you point and shoot and think you got the shot but when after reviewing you’re like “oh it wasn’t what I thought it was, I’m not really happy with it.” At that point it’s more about making something creative and inspiring with what we have because usually these events are a one-time thing you so you can’t go back and film more the next day because it’s already over with. We haven’t had any really horrible moments but there’s definitely been some “Ok, lets take a different route and come up with something really exciting here’. We’re trying to prove our worth through the great content we’ve created. The response we’re getting back on our latest work is very positive.

How do you feel when you finish a video?

Recently it’s been feeling a lot more gratifying because we’ve been hearing really good feedback from everyone and we’re starting to produce more content-based material versus marketing videos. I’m 22-years-old and I’m contributing my personal opinion about what we should be filming into this massive international company and they’re letting us do it so it’s exciting!

 

Have you felt a difference being a woman in the film/production industry?

I don’t want to be like ‘woe is me’ but it definitely does feel like that sometimes being a woman in the industry. The job requires a lot of lifting heavy equipment and other technicalities and I think a lot of people typically think of guys being the ones who are experts at that so it’s awkward sometimes to feel like you can assert yourself. Overall I really like being a woman in the industry. I overthink everything and think about a lot of details that sometimes the guys aren’t really thinking about. There have actually been a lot of girls getting into the industry so it’s not like it was 10 years ago. In college for example they would never let me film sports like basketball on the court because they didn’t think I’d be able to lift the equipment. They would place me in sexist roles like inside of the technical box working the screens and doing graphics even though I requested to do camera. I think it was harder when I was working in the sports realm.

 

Where do you hope to see your career (5 years)?

I would like to reach a point where everyday I’m out filming, creating something new, working on new projects. In the next 5 years I need to dig deeper into that because at the end of my lifelong career I really want to get into documentary work so I need to start moving in that direction. I love working here! This is a great opportunity to develop those skills and grow. I want to be able to deliver what I know in my head is a really good quality thing so I’m excited to keep growing and learning.

 

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